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Inside Politics

Gore's Energy Plan Aimed at Rising Gas Prices, Sliding Poll Numbers; Bush Grabs Chance to Persuade Latino Voters He Speaks their Language

Aired June 26, 2000 - 5:00 p.m. ET


BERNARD SHAW, CNN ANCHOR: Al Gore prepares to roll out a new energy plan as gas prices remain high, and his poll numbers slide.

JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN ANCHOR: George W. Bush grabs another opportunity to persuade Latino voters he speaks their language.


GOV. GEORGE W. BUSH (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: "Senor Presidente," it's got a nice ring to it.


SHAW: Plus, could the newly completed blueprint of the human genetic code lead to the creation of a better presidential candidate?

ANNOUNCER: From Washington, this is INSIDE POLITICS with Bernard Shaw and Judy Woodruff.

WOODRUFF: Thank you for joining us.

After two weeks of touting prosperity and progress, Al Gore has not made any real progress with voters according to our new poll. In fact, the CNN/"USA Today" Gallup survey shows Gore now has fallen 13 points behind George W. Bush among likely voters nationwide. Early this month, Gore and Bush were in a statistical dead heat.

Gore's campaign wants to overcome his slide in the polls and the renewed controversy over his past fund raising by putting energy into his message.

CNN's Patty Davis has a preview of the plan Gore unveils tomorrow.


PATTY DAVIS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): With high gas prices a potent political issue, Vice President Al Gore is set to unveil a new plan of attack: reducing U.S. dependence on overseas oil.

Gore's plan offers tax breaks to manufacturers who develop more fuel-efficient products, consumers who buy them and cities who use more fuel-efficient buses and light rail.

CHRIS LEHANE, GORE CAMPAIGN SPOKESMAN: We need to reduce big oil's strangle hold on the American people. And we need to reduce America's dependence on unreliable sources of oil from abroad.

DAVIS: The plan also targets air pollution and sets aside more money for childhood diseases linked to it. But in order to balance environmental concerns, Gore has ruled out two ways to expand U.S. oil production, opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska and all new oil and gas drilling off the coasts California and Florida.

His new proposal comes weeks after his short-term fix for the nation's gas price woes calling for a federal trade commission investigation into price gouging at the pump. Both plans could take months. Nowhere is the issue hotter than in the Midwest where gas prices are the highest in the nation, $2.11 in Chicago.

Analysts say voters in the battleground Midwest want relief now.

TOM ROESER, POLITICAL ANALYST: All these fancy plans are not going to work for Al Gore unless the price goes down under $30 a barrel, and at least 8 or 9 cents, I think, a gallon down by, I would say, September.

DAVIS: Gore's plan could help blunt criticism by the Bush campaign which has charged the Clinton administration has no energy policy.

(on camera): In addition to showcasing the vice president's long-term energy strategy, Gore loyalists are expected to continue bashing big oil and George W. Bush's connection to it.

Patty Davis, CNN, Washington.


SHAW: George W. Bush has a new plan of his own: an overhaul of the Immigration and Naturalization Service. Bush outlined the proposal here in Washington today in an address to the League of the United Latin American Citizens.

Our Jonathan Karl has an update on the battle for support from the nation's fastest growing minority group.


BUSH: Senor presidente: It's got a nice ring to it.

JONATHAN KARL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In his latest appeal to Hispanic voters, George W. Bush vowed to make the Immigration and Naturalization Service more consumer friendly to new immigrants.

BUSH: We ought to be saying loud and clear to people that the INS is to help families and to help people understand the maze of rules of regulations. No the INS -- the INS needs reform. KARL: Bush said he would split the INS into two separate agencies. One to fight illegal immigration at the borders and another to welcome those who seek to legally immigrate to the United States.

BUSH: Family values do not stop at the Rio Grande River. People are coming to America because they're moms and dads trying to feed their children. That's why they're coming.

KARL: He also said he would allow immediate family members of legal immigrants to visit the U.S. while they apply for residency, something Bush said is not permitted under current law.

BUSH: We need to help husbands and wives and children of permanent residents be allowed to visit while the INS is handling their paperwork. We ought to be able to say...

KARL: Bush received a warm welcome from the League of United Latin American Citizens, the largest Hispanic organization in the United States.

ENRIQUE DOVALINA, LULAC PRESIDENT: So I think that just by the work that he's done in Texas, where he's taken counties that have traditionally been Democratic, there are some inroads being made. And as a Latino it's good to be wanted by both parties.

KARL: Later this week, Al Gore will address the group which does not endorse candidates. Bush's pro-immigration rhetoric stands in stark contrast to previous Republican candidates, like former California Governor Pete Wilson who ran ads promising to crack down on illegal immigrants.


ANNOUNCER: Governor Pete Wilson sent the National Guard to help the border patrol.


KARL: In a pre-emptive strike before today's speech, the Texas Democratic Party hosted a press conference with the head of the Texas Senate Hispanic Caucus to denounce Bush's record on Hispanic issues.

MARIO GALLEGOS JR. (D), TEXAS STATE SENATE: We deal with him on a regular basis, and the truth needs to come out about this man. And we will tell and you show you on video.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They have a little fire there and they will cook their beans.


KARL: The video accuses Bush of neglecting those living in shanty towns on the Texas border with Mexico. It was produced in cooperation with the Democratic National Committee. (on camera): Bush's aides readily concede that Al Gore will likely win the Hispanic vote. But they believe that by reaching out to minorities Bush comes across as inclusive and compassionate and that, in turn they believe, will help Bush appeal to moderates and independents who have been turned off by Republicans in the past.

Jonathan Karl, CNN, Washington.


WOODRUFF: Vice President Gore is scheduled to speak to that same Latino group on Friday.

Let's talk about the Hispanic vote now with U.S. Representative Henry Bonilla, Republican of Texas and Texas State Senator Mario Gallegos Jr. who is a Democrat.

We just saw you in that report from Jonathan Karl.

Gentlemen, thank you for being with us.

REP. HENRY BONILLA (R), TEXAS: Thank you. Thank you.

GALLEGOS: Thank you for having us.

WOODRUFF: Let me begin with you, Congressman Bonilla.

Do you concede as do the Bush aides who talked to Jonathan Karl for that report, that Al Gore is likely to win the large majority of Hispanic votes this year?

BONILLA: Well, it's going to be a horse race until the end. Statistically, if the Republican candidate gets anywhere between 30 to 40 percent it's usually a landslide for the Republican candidate. Our goal is to win the majority. But, again, if we get even a 35 percent vote in the Hispanic community we will win resoundingly.

And let me also say that I come from a Congressional district that's almost 70 percent minority. The Governor has traveled with me to my border counties many times. Some of them have a 90 percent plus population. And he has tremendous support in these areas. And as he gets his message out around the country, he's going to have the same kind of support.

WOODRUFF: State Senator Gallegos. should Vice President Gore be worried? This -- Governor Bush is going after the Hispanic vote big time this year.

GALLEGOS: I think what you need to look at is -- we were just talking about compassionate conservative -- you saw the video. CNN can take their cameras there tomorrow and see the same thing. I think what you are going to see is you're going to see the message that we have a Texas -- we have a legislature work with Governor Bush on a daily basis in the session. We know what he has done in the Hispanic communities. And I think he's...

WOODRUFF: And what are you suggesting he's done or not done?

GALLEGOS: Well, he vetoed Senate Bill 1514 that would have helped areas like the colonias -- the colonias, 400,000 Texans without water, without sewer, without electricity -- and vetoed a bill that had no fiscal implication whatsoever. But that's even -- I can tell you that once the message gets out -- we have not been getting this message out because the Democratic Party of Texas doesn't have the money: $2 million spent '98 by Governor Bush, and nothing to reply by his opponent.

WOODRUFF: Well, let me ask Representative Bonilla, what about this money that would have helped these people living in these poor areas? He's vetoing that?

BONILLA: The governor has supported many projects that helped in the areas of education for the colonias -- has even supported by the mayor of El Paso, Texas, Carlos Ramirez, by Pepe Aranda (ph) who's a border -- along the border in Eagle Pass. They see first hand what he's done to help the less advantaged along the Mexican border.

The representative has been around in legislature for many years before the Bush administration. If some of these conditions have existed and continue to exist that way, it's probably his fault and the leadership in the House in Texas for not taking this initiative before Governor Bush even got into office.

WOODRUFF: What about his point, Senator Gallegos, that this is something that other Hispanic leaders in your state are supporting Governor Bush?

GALLEGOS: I would tell the Congressman that he -- that number one, Governor Bush -- he's saying he's gone down to the region. He has never visited colonia. By his own spokesman, never visited a colonia. At least Ann Richards and the democratic governors have gone -- at least they visited colonias and tried to do something about it.

I mean, Governor Bush can visit Bob Jones University, visit those kinds of areas. He should at least look at -- he runs away from these colonias. He runs away from these colonias. He runs away from -- vetoes Senate Bill 1514, had no fiscal implication to the state at all, would have helped these colonias, never has visited a colonian. This is -- these are people living in Third World condition countries. The congressman himself represents these areas. I would tell him -- tell the governor to come down visit his area.

BONILLA: I think the representative is...

WOODRUFF: Congressman, what about the point that he did...


WOODRUFF: ... veto this particular piece of legislation?

BONILLA: I'm not aware of that particular piece of legislation, I'll be honest with you. But I can only tell you that if you look at many, again, education initiatives that allows more Latinos along the border to attend state universities than ever before; in the areas of health care, trying to get more people into the community in migrant health centers, which I have championed, quite frankly, along the Mexican border.

I think the representative is somewhat upset because he's -- he has seen firsthand probably that there is a tremendous amount of crossover support now among Democrat Latinos in Texas as we've never seen before.

GALLEGOS: I don't think -- that's not the issue at all. I think what it is, is that we in Texas have not been able to send this message because in '98, Governor Bush spent $2 million in Spanish media, one message going straight to the Spanish media without any rebuttal. I mean, I could spend $2 million and say...

WOODRUFF: You are saying simply because he had the money to spend to get the word out?

GALLEGOS: No, his opponents spend no money at all.

WOODRUFF: Yet your party used the DNC to help get these videos.

GALLEGOS: I'm talking about in the '98 vote, which he -- that's what he's harping on, that he got 48 percent. He did not get 48. He got a third of the vote. Those were just early predictions. He only got a third of that vote.

BONILLA: Actually, a lot of -- they did not poll a lot of areas where many Latinos had moved into lower middle class and middle-class communities and upper-income communities, and in fact, many statisticians would probably be suspect of the methodology used and say instead that the governor had it closer to 60 percent of the vote.

WOODRUFF: Let me just wrap this up by asking the both of you, what is it that Hispanic voters want from a president? We've got less than a minute here, I want to hear from both of you.

BONILLA: They want a fair shot at the American dream. And unlike some people like the representative, who claimed that Hispanics are victims, I promise you -- I was born in a housing project in a barrio in south Texas, all we ever want is a fair shot. And he does not pander to any ethnic group like Al Gore does. His nickname is, of course, pander bear now, because he's got an agenda for every different group. But we just want an equal shot, fair treatment.

GALLEGOS: I would ask the representative to invite George Bush to his district.

BONILLA: He's been to my district many times.

GALLEGOS: And if those colonias were a 51st state, it would be first in poverty, first in adults without a high-school education, first in birth rate, and low in personal income. He has not gone there, how does he know. He has not gone to a colonia, not visited a colonia. This issue, we're going to send across. The message will be sent about Governor Bush and some of the other issues, not only colonias, but education, hate crimes, and we can go on and on and on.

WOODRUFF: All right, well, gentlemen, we clearly will be coming back to this throughout this election year.

BONILLA: Thank you for having us.

GALLEGOS: Thank you.

WOODRUFF: State Senator Gallegos, Representative Bonilla, thank you both for being with us.

And at this hour, we are awaiting a press conference with the Miami relatives of Elian Gonzalez, who have asked the U.S. Supreme Court to prevent the boy from returning to Cuba with his father. When that news conference begins, we will go live to Miami.

And still ahead on INSIDE POLITICS, more on the presidential hopefuls and the poll numbers. A look at why only one candidate might consider this the merry month of June.


SHAW: Vice President Al Gore supporters are quick to note that at this early stage, opinion polls are a poor measure of the November results. All the same, the results of our latest match-up have to be troubling for the Gore campaign since they show the vice president behind and slipping.


SHAW (voice-over): Judging by our new poll, June has been a terrible month for Vice President Al Gore. The latest CNN/"USA Today" Gallup Poll gives Texas Governor George W. Bush a 13-point lead among likely voters, Bush gets 52 percent to Gore's 39 percent. Since June 7, Gore has dropped 5 points, while has Bush picked up 4.

While Bush has extended lead among men from 17 points to 20 points, he's made his biggest gains among women. He now leads Gore among women 48-42 percent. That's a major shift from our June 7 survey, which had Gore ahead by 8 points. Among women aged 18-49, the race was tied in early June. Bush now holds a 17-point lead.

Gore's current weakness is reflected among Democrats. Asked whether they were happy with Gore as their candidate, 25 percent of Democrats said no. That they'd like to see the party convention nominate someone else. Just 15 percent of Republicans express similar dissatisfaction with Bush.

The news that the head of the Justice Department's campaign finance task force is recommending an independent investigation of Gore's 1996 fund-raising hasn't helped the vice president.

A majority of likely voters now believe Gore did something unethical or illegal, but they are split on whether Attorney General Janet Reno should appoint a special prosecutor. And if Reno chooses not to appoint a special counsel, Americans say they would trust her motives: 53 percent say such a decision would be because Reno doesn't think a special prosecutor is necessary, just 35 percent say it would be to protect Gore.

While Gore appears to have taken a hit on the fund-raising story, George Bush's support for the execution of Texas murderer Gary Graham does not appear to have hurt him: about half approved of the way he's handled death penalty cases in Texas, with just 30 percent disapproving, one in five had no opinion.


SHAW: One silver lining for Gore, just 45 percent of likely voters say they're paying a lot of attention to the race, although that number is creeping back up as the conventions draw nearer.

Joining us now, Ceci Connelly of the "Washington Post" and executive director of the CNN political unit Beth Fouhy.

Ceci, first to you and then Beth, this week, the vice president is underscoring energy. What is he after and are there problems?

CECI CONNELLY, "WASHINGTON POST": A couple of things, Bernie. One thing, he realizes that so much of the country, especially out in the Midwest where those gasoline prices have just skyrocketed, people are getting pretty incensed about this situation, and there's a good chance that they might blame Vice President Gore and President Clinton since they've been the folks in office for the past eight years. So, a little bit of this is a defensive strategy, Bernie.

But I also have to tell you that what Gore hopes to accomplish in his speech tomorrow in Philadelphia and in the next couple of days this week is to try to capitalize on his environmental credentials. He especially thinks that in this good economy, in these times when there is a big federal surplus, that there is money to take care of some of these other projects and that there is popular support for some of those.

SHAW: Beth Fouhy.

BETH FOUHY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, I would agree with Ceci. But what must be paining the Gore people so much right now is because they are in the third week now of this progress and prosperity tour. The last two weeks he would make some policy announcements like the one he's going to make tomorrow on energy and they've been trumped by controversy: first the decision of Tony Coelho to leave as the campaign chairman; number two, Gore -- and the news that Janet Reno may be considering appointing a special prosecutor to investigate his fund raising.

So, he tries to get his message out and it's continually trumped by something else. This time -- I think Ceci is right, he is talking about something that on one hand looks proactive, but at the same time looks defensive because Governor Bush has been criticizing him, because voters in the Midwest could very well react very angrily and very negatively to him in November because of the high gas prices they are paying. SHAW: Beth, is energy a safe issue for the vice president?

FOUHY: I don't know if it's a safe issue. As Ceci was saying, it has all these environmental implications for Gore as well, and he has to balance the needs of different constituencies. The environmental constituency is a really important one for him. He fashions himself as an environmentalist.

So, he has to talk about ways to lessen the dependence on foreign oil while at the same time not doing things that are environmentally risky, like opening up Anwar, drilling off the Florida and California coast. These are things that his constituents would really object to. So, he has to balance all of that while coming up with a policy that is going to make sense.

SHAW: Ceci, one constituency of great interest to both these candidates, the Hispanic vote.

CONNELLY: Yes, that's right, Bernie. And here in Washington today we had Governor Bush in town speaking to an organization of Hispanic legislators known as LULAC. At the end of the week on Friday, Vice President Gore will be here to address them.

And what you are seeing all over the country, but especially in some of these key states such as Florida, Texas, California, and New York, is an incredible wooing of the Latino vote for this presidential election. They are a growing demographic group in our country, they are not necessarily wedded to one political party yet. So far, they've tended to vote more Democratic.

But Republicans, especially Governor Bush, think he has a real shot at this group of voters, in part because of his work in Texas, garnering up to 47 percent of the Hispanic vote there in his last gubernatorial campaign, his work along the Mexico border, he speaks Spanish quite well. He thinks this is an opportunity for him.

SHAW: Well, Beth, obviously, the governor would like to mortally hurt the vice president in California with the Hispanic vote, a state so important to Gore.

FOUHY: Well, the polls right now show Gore comfortably ahead in California, although not absolutely ahead, not in any way at all. And as we just saw from the national poll, he is struggling to hold on to a lot of constituencies that ought to be his constituencies at this point. I think it's safe to say that Governor Bush will make Vice President Gore really battle for those Hispanics in California. Although, I think eventually, they'll all come back to him.

Keep in mind, that the Hispanic population in California was very mobilized to vote Democratic after Governor Pete Wilson basically waged a war as -- in the minds of a lot of Hispanic immigrants on illegal immigration, so they are very much in the Democrats' camp at the moment. But I think, as Ceci said, because he -- Governor Bush is such an appealing figure to many Hispanics and has really made a lot of inroads in reaching out to that community, that is yet another constituency that Vice President Gore is going to have to really fight for.

SHAW: Do you think the governor assumes he has a lock on the Hispanic vote in Texas and Florida, Ceci?

CONNELLY: Not a lock, but since those states are tending Republican in presidential elections anyway I think that he's feeling much more confident about Texas and Florida. Of course, Florida, his brother is the governor, so he's expecting to get a real boost from his brother Jeb in that state as well. So, certainly much stronger position there.

There is one thing, Bernie, with respect to the past couple weeks and the vice president, I wanted to mention some of those national polls where we see he's still lagging.

Often, polls tend to fall a couple weeks behind the reality on the campaign trail and I think it's at least worth noting that Vice President Gore, as much as he's hit these two controversies the past two weeks, he's actually handled them surprisingly well under the circumstances and fairly quickly and efficiently, and that is something that we have not seen from this campaign really at all over the past year. So, that in and of itself may suggest Gore turning something of a corner right now.

FOUHY: I think, though, Bernie, that the real scary thing for the Gore campaign in that poll and in other polls that we've seen is just Vice President Gore's inability to really have a firm grip on his base. We've seen a very united Republican Party for Governor Bush. We do not see that for Vice President Gore.

Vice President Gore -- here it is at the end of June -- is still having to convince people who ought to be just basically part of the Democratic natural base that he's their guy and he's somebody who they ought to want to have as president. So, he is starting from a real leg back and he's having to convince those people.

He can't even do what he needs to do to broaden out to a new group of people the way Governor Bush is. Governor Bush is making an outreach to traditionally Democratic constituencies. Gore can't go into any other constituency right now except his own, because he doesn't have them solid yet.

SHAW: Beth Fouhy, executive director of the CNN political unit, and Ceci Connelly of the "Washington Post," thanks to both of you.

Judy and I will be right back with more of INSIDE POLITICS.


WOODRUFF: There is much more ahead on this edition of INSIDE POLITICS.

Still to come, the Supreme Court throws California a curve and throws out the blanket primary.

Plus, an enthusiastic Green Party chooses its man. And later, does today's genetic milestone have political implications? Our Bruce Morton considers the possibility of scientifically enhanced candidates.


WOODRUFF: The U.S. Supreme Court today threw out California's blanket primary process, saying it violates the rights of political parties.

CNN's Greg LaMotte reports on the controversy surrounding that primary system and the reaction to the high court ruling.


GREG LAMOTTE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Voters in California decided in 1996 they wanted complete freedom during political primaries.

NICK TOBEY, CALIFORNIANS TO PROTECT THE OPEN PRIMARY: The passage of Proposition 198 allowed for all voters, regardless of their party affiliation, to vote for the candidate of their choice.

LAMOTTE: It was called a "blanket primary." Every candidate, regardless of party affiliation, appeared together on one ballot. Voters of any party could then vote for any candidate on the ballot.

Jon Fleischman with the California Republican Party, said the system violated the rights of the voters to choose their party's candidates. He likened it to allowing the UCLA football team to vote for who the head coach at USC should be.

JON FLEISCHMAN, CALIFORNIA REPUBLICAN PARTY: We think that the right of a political party to choose its nominee is a very serious one, and we invite anyone and everyone who wants to choose who our Republican nominee is to join our party and participate in that process. Or if you want to choose who the Democrat nominee is, join their party and be a part of their process. But we believe fundamentally that political parties will cease to exist if you don't have to be a part of that party to choose its nominee.

LAMOTTE: In a 7-2 vote, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed and struck down California's voter-approved blanket primary. Republican leaders appear to be happy about it. So do libertarians and Democrats, who appealed the voter-approved initiative.

JOE ANDREW, DNC: We think that Democratics ought to be able to determine who the nominee is in their party, just like Republicans ought to be able to determine their nominee and independents and Green Party and Reform Party ought to be able to determine their nominee. That's what gives integrity to the process. That's what makes the process honest.

(on camera): The blanket party did not seem to change the outcome in either of the major statewide races in which it was tested, the California governor's race or this year's presidential primary. Those in favor of blanket primaries say they hope to find some alternative to the U.S. Supreme Court ruling.

Greg LaMotte, CNN, Los Angeles.


SHAW: We have been standing by to await the beginning of a news conference in Miami to be held by relatives of Elian Gonzalez. And when it happens, we will go to it.

Continuing with this story with the high court ruling, three other states have primary systems similar to California's: Alaska, Washington and to some extent Louisiana. The high court did not rule on the validity of the more common open primary system used in another 20 states, but in his descending opinion, Justice John Paul Stevens wrote that he believes that the decision endangers those primary systems, too.

Well, let's talk about all of this new with three political analysts: Dick Rosengarten, publisher of "California Political Week," Larry Sabato of the University of Virginia, and David Broder of "The Washington Post."

Dick, first to you. Who benefited from the blanket primary?

DICK ROSENGARTEN, "CALIFORNIA POLITICAL WEEK: Well, I think it was moderate Republicans. Those are the ones who wrote the law in the first place, you know, because they couldn't win a partisan primary for dog catcher if they didn't have crossover Democrats and independents. So they were the ones who benefited by it, and they're the ones who are going to get hurt by it.

SHAW: Writing for the majority, Justice Scalia, David Broder and Larry Sabato, said, quote, "It is obvious that the net effect of this scheme is to reduce the scope of choice by assuring a range of candidates who are all more centrist," unquote -- Larry.

LARRY SABATO, UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA: Well, that may or may not be true. And frankly, I think the majority opinion was a very impressive opinion. I hope people who are interested in this subject will read it. The important point is not who is hurt or who is helped, the important point is that the court performed its fundamental purpose, which is upholding basic rights of all Americans. They upheld the First Amendment and the piece of the First Amendment that calls for free political association. And they said that no group of Americans, including the great people of California, can vote to overrule part of those freedoms or part of the First Amendment.

So I think that, you know, most political scientists, whatever their political persuasions, their partisan persuasions, are just delighted by this decision. It strengthens political parties.

SHAW: David Broder, entering a friend of the court brief on behalf of the blanket primary was, not surprisingly, Arizona Republican Senator John McCain. DAVID BRODER, "THE WASHINGTON POST": Because he wanted those independent votes counted in his presidential primary in California, which they could not be because they put in a special provision to make the California primary conform to the national party rules.

But, Bernie, I think that this may be -- this is a significant victory for people who believe in strong political parties, but it may be a short-lived victory. Congressman Tom Campell of California, who is the main sponsor of the initiative that the court threw out today, told me that he will come back with another initiative to give California a completely non-partisan primary for candidates, which would be very much like the Louisiana model. And Justice Scalia's opinion suggested that if they just took the parties out of it entirely, that the court might approve that kind of a scheme.

SHAW: Dick Rosengarten, how might that play, what David has just disclosed here?

ROSENGARTEN: I don't think it flis here in California. I think both parties would be willing to put up money to stop that.

You know, back in 1996, Bill Press was the -- of CNN was the Democratic Party chair. And I kept wondering, why didn't they fight this thing. Well, it was very, very popular in terms of the polls and everything. But if they tried to take the partisanship out of these -- out of partisan races, I think that both parties as well as the public would say no way. Because that sort of goes back to the old days of cross-filing, where you didn't know who was for what. So I think it would be very, very confusing for voters, and I think both parties, like I said, would do everything that they could to try and stop it.

SHAW: Larry Sabato...

ROSENGARTEN: And where would Campbell get the money for it? You know, it costs money to qualify an initiative.

SHAW: Larry Sabato, are you impressed with what this decision today, the court decision, as you indicated, has touchd off?

SABATO: Yes, I am. And I think Dick has made a very important point here. Let's hope that Congressman Campbell fails. And I say that, again, not from any partisan persuasion, not from any ideological persuassion, but because if there is anything worse then the blanket primary that California, Alaska and Washington have had until this court decision, it's the Louisiana no party-primary...

ROSENGARTEN: Absolutely.

SABATO: ... And it's so perfect for Louisiana, because it's completely anarchist and because that pimary is called the "free love primary."

ROSENGARTEN: That's right.

SABATO: That really fits Louisiana, but it doesn't fit the other 49 states, and it certainly doesn't fit the system of government that we have in our country. So let's hope that this decision stands, that Congressman Cambell fails and that we continue to build and strengthen political parties.

SHAW: Well, at least on this program, Dave Broder, there appears to be a desire for -- my choice of words -- a "clean" primary?

BRODER: Clean primaries are fine, but let me raise a cautionary note. In fact, both parties, Democrats and Republicans and the minor parties, all opposed the Campbell initiative when it was on the balot the first time. And in the polling that was done in California at that time, when voters were told during the campaign, if you knew that the major parties are both opposed to this initiative, public support for the initiative rose.

SHAW: But what...


SHAW: What do you...

ROSENGARTEN: I was going to say, David, I think one of the reasons why it was doing so well was that, you know, at that time there was a lot of anmosity toward the parties out here. And anything that they put on the ballot was going to win. I mean, I think that's why Press and John Harrington, who was the chairman of the Republican Party, didn't put any money into trying to stop it, because they knew they couldn't.

BRODER: And do you think they loved...

ROSENGARTEN: They figured they'd go in the court.

BRODER: Do you think they love the political parties more now?

ROSENGARTEN: I think there's a little bit more tolerance, let's put it that way -- not much, but a little.

SHAW: And quickly, before we run out of time, I must ask you about a group we covered throughout our coverage of the primaries and the caucuses: What about the voice of the independent voter, who as we all know, meant so much to John McCain? Anyone?

SABATO: Well, the independents, just to suggest, they have plenty of alternatives. The independents in most states can go into one of the major party primaries and vote. The independents can organize their own political parties, they can put their own independents on the general election ballot, or they can help one of the other third parties, the Green Party, the Reform Party and so on. They have plenty of options.

And let's consider what's for the whole system, not for a group of people who for one reason or another may be anti-political party and purely populist.

SHAW: That's your thinking, Dick? ROSENGARTEN: Yes, and my thinking is for the decline to states independents, if they want to vote for John McCain or Bill Bradley or Al Gore, let them join one of the parties. I stand with Dr. Sabato. I, you know, I'm a very strong believer in the two-party system. If they want to vote that way, let them join one of the major parties -- or one of the minor parties for that matter.

SHAW: David Broder, where stand you?

BRODER: I happened to agree with that argument, but I've got to tell you. There's only one party that's growing in this country today, and it's the party of independents.

SHAW: OK, David Broder of "The Washington Post," Larry Sabato of the University of Virginia and Dick Rosengarten, publisher of "California Political Week," thanks very much.


SABATO: Thank you.

SHAW: Judy.

WOODRUFF: Very interesting.

And in that vein, in California today, newly nominated Green Party presidential hopeful Ralph Nader is addressing children's issues and working to bolster his support in one of the states where he hopes to make a difference on Election Day.

As CNN's Kate Snow reports, the Green Party convention this past weekend gave the political world even more reason to take Nader's campaign seriously.


RALPH NADER (G), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Who will end hundreds and billions of dollars of corporate welfare?

CROWD: We will.

KATE SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It was nothing like 1996, a packed ballroom, balloons and confetti.

They yelled, go, we go, an all-inclusive cheer not so much for Ralph Nader, the candidate, but the movement.

NADER: A progressive political movement will offer endless opportunities for community-based patriotism to blossom. We need you.

SNOW: Technically, Nader isn't even a member of the Greens. He calls himself an independent, but with the help of a Green Party ticket, he hopes to make an impact this November.

NADER: That's when the politicians who had their finger to the wind and they felt the wind. And we've got to give them more wind. SNOW: Nader is keenly aware he has the potential to steal votes away from the major parties. He says his agenda appeals not just to left-leaning Greens but to conservatives as well. But his attacks are clearly aimed at one man: Democrat Al Gore.

NADER: Now you see the other candidates, especially Al Gore, he's always saying what a great, rosy economy this is. What yardsticks is he using? He's using the yardsticks of his corporate paymasters. That's whose yardstick he's using.

SNOW: Nader polls well in six states where Bush and Gore are running neck and neck: Connecticut, Oregon, Washington, New Mexico, Michigan and Wisconsin. A significant vote for Nader in any of them could decide who wins the state. Nader is strong in California, a must win state for Gore. The Gore campaign isn't worried.

CHRIS LEHANE, GORE CAMPAIGN SPOKESMAN: People are very, very careful not to throw away their vote. They want their vote to count. It's very, very critical to the Democratic process. The next president of this country is going to be making monumental decisions on issues like the environment, health case, education, the economy, Social Security and Medicare. And one of the two people who are going to be the next president: Al Gore, George W. Bush.

SNOW: But the Nader camp is convinced they'll get at least 5 percent of the national vote, enough to qualify for federal matching funds in 2004.

STEVE COBBLE, NADER CAMPAIGN STRATEGIST: If you remember eight years ago at this time, Ross Perot was leading in the polls. And what that suggests is there's a huge amount of volatility in the American electorate.

KING: Nader saus he realizes he needs more exposure. He's calling on Al Gore and George W. Bush to insist that he's includinged in televised presidential debates.

John Anderson was a strong third party candidate in 1980. He has this advice:

JOHN ANDERSON (I), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You have to emphasize to people that yours is not an idiosyncratic individual effort but that you really want to change fundamentally the culture of our country.

SNOW: Nader says the next few weeks are critical, as the Greens try to get on the ballot in all 50 states. He says it's time to build on the momentum from Denver and convince those frustraisted with mainstream politics to vote Green.

Kate Snow, CNN, Denver.


WOODRUFF: In Washington today, President Clinton announced the projected surplus would be higher than expected, nearly $1.9 trillion over the next 10 years. Armed with that news, the president made a proposal and challenged Republicans to work with him on a compromise.

Our John King reports.


JOHN KING, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The president couldn't help but smile at a budget outlook unthinkable just few years ago. The White House now estimates surpluses totaling about $1.9 trillion over the next 10 years. That's more than double the $746 billion forecast just four months ago.

The president proposed using some of the money to break this year's budget impasse with congressional Republicans. Mr. Clinton said that he would be willing to ease the so-called marriage penalty, a key Republican priority, by cutting taxes on two income couples by $250 billion over 10 years. But only if Republicans embraced the administration's $250 billion proposal to create a new Medicare prescription drug benefit.

WILLIAM J. CLINTON, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This is a proposal for true compromise. It asks each party to accept some of the positions of the other party in the name of progress.

KING: The president said his plan would wall off both the Medicare and Social Security trust funds from the rest of the federal budget, completely pay off the long-term national debt by the year 2012, and set $500 billion of the projected surplus aside in a rainy day fund to allow an election year debate over how future surpluses should be spent.

CLINTON: That's something that should be debated in the coming months and decided on by the American people this fall.

KING: The new numbers are certain to intensify an already pointed campaign debate over tax cuts. Vice President Gore proposes $500 billion in tax cuts targeted to lower- and middle-income families. Governor Bush would slash taxes by nearly three times that: $1.3 trillion over 10 years.

Mr. Clinton's new proposal to end the budget impasse was quickly dismissed by leading congressional Republicans.

SEN. PETE DOMENICI (R-NM), BUDGET CHAIRMAN: Now this is an estimate and I'm very delighted with it. But I don't believe we ought to horse trade major American programs.

KING: But more money does mean more leeway to eventually cut a deal that gives both parties bragging rights.

(on camera): So the challenge facing the president in this, his final budget battle, is to try to secure a few more policy victories without breaking his promise to fellow Democrats not to sign any deal that might give the Republicans an edge in this fall's congressional campaigns.

John King, CNN, the White House. (END VIDEOTAPE)

WOODRUFF: Up next, DNA and politics? Our Bruce Morton on what amazing advances the future may bring.



CLINTON: Today we are learning the language in which God created life. We are gaining ever more awe for the complexity, the beauty, the wonder of God's most divine and sacred gift.


SHAW: President Clinton this day commenting on what he calls a "stunning and humbling" scientific achievement: the completion of a so-called working draft of the human genome.

WOODRUFF: The medical and the scientific possibilities abound, but our Bruce Morton has just one question: Can science now produce a better candidate?


BRUCE MORTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's too soon, of course. The gene map they announced on Monday is rough, more like the ones Columbus used than, say, the ones in your atlas.

But in time with enough research, couldn't you put together the ideal candidate? Why not? A gene from Franklin Roosevelt or Ronald Reagan of public speaking, delivering the message.


RONALD REAGAN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Four years ago, we raised a banner of bold colors, no pale pastels. We proclaimed a dream of an America that would be a shining city on a hill.


MORTON: A little genetic Al Gore, maybe, for really understanding government programs.


GORE: Because if we are going to have prosperity and progress, not just not in the present, not just in the next four years, but far into the future, we have got to recognize that now is a time for big choices.


MORTON: I don't know, does the perfect candidate have to understand that stuff?

A little DNA from, say, Bill Clinton.


CLINTON: The quiet people are going to have someone who hears their voice, who feels their pain, and who will work with them to change their lives.


MORTON: Or George W. Bush for working the crowd. Why not?


BUSH: We'll love the babies. We'll love the babies.


MORTON: Somebody in the news room said: Why not just clone Colin Powell? It's true. Men like him, women like him, Babies and dogs like him. I know they don't vote, but they make swell pictures. Trouble is: He doesn't want to run. Might need a DNA transfusion from, say, Lyndon Johnson or Richard Nixon, a couple of men who really did want the job. That could get ugly, of course.

Still, if we're going to use all this science to find a perfect candidate, what about a gene transplant for the voters? We're apathetic, we keep telling pollsters and focus groups. Hate them all, we don't want to know. And that's not new. Half a century ago, a candidate wrote:

Who's fault is it "that the honor and nobility of politics at most levels are empty phrases? It is the fault of you, the people. Your public servants serve you right; indeed, they often serve you better than your apathy and indifference deserve."

Adlia Stevenson, a governor of Illinois, twice a losing Democratic presidential candidate against Dwight Eisenhower, wrote that back in the 1950s.

So we don't just need a genetically perfect candidate, folks. The voters could shape up, too. Take an interest, for a change. Hey, could you at least wake up?

Bruce Morton, CNN, Washington.


SHAW: We also need some women among those candidates.

WOODRUFF: I'm worried about them making a better news reporter.

SHAW: That's all for this edition of INSIDE POLITICS. I'm Bernard Shaw.

WOODRUFF: And I'm Judy Woodruff. "WORLDVIEW" is next.



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